A piece of Connecticut history is about to become history, as centuries-old Bakers Country Furniture in Stafford Springs gets ready to close its doors.
"I've been here all my life," owner John Rossi said Tuesday. "I actually got off the school bus here."
The store has been in the Rossi family since the 1960s, but it dates back to 1808, a year before Abraham Lincoln was born, giving it claim as the oldest furniture retailer in Connecticut.
Longtime customer Rebecca Wentworth says the business has been as strong a neighbor as it's been a retailer.
"They've done a lot for the community," she said. "Whenever you came in here to sell an ad for a musical happening in town or anything for the kids or schools, they've been very generous."
When Bakers was founded, Stafford Springs was an overnight stagecoach stop between Boston and New York. The owners say business has had its ups and downs, but decided, for them personally, it's just time.
"My wife and I have been doing this all our lives," continued Rossi. "We think it's a little time for a change."
Their sunset moment is an opportunity for bargain hunters, starting Thursday, March 26.
"Well, on the carpet itself there's 65 percent savings, and all the accessories will be 50 percent off, and all of our furniture is going to be as marked, but it's going to be substantial savings," Rossi promised.
As for the future of the 20,000-square-foot property at 42 West Main Street, Rossi says he'd like to see it remain a furniture store.
"I think it was a great place to have one," he said.
Wentworth seems OK with that but bemoans the seemingly perpetual manifest destiny of big-corporation America.
"We have a CVS across the street and that's new too, so I'm still trying to get used to that," she lamented.
Asked about the specter of a furniture giant such as Ikea, Wentworth was unequivocal.
"I hope not, I really hope not," she said.
Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com